pexels olia danilevich 5088178CHAMPAIGN – To help address the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is announcing that school districts in the 52nd District will receive an estimated $128,207,491 in additional funding.

“Parents have spent most of this pandemic focusing on how their kids will continue learning and how the pandemic will impact their future,” said Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Scott Bennett. “Teachers have adapted to every obstacle thrown their way this past year, and I’m thrilled to see the state do right by our students with this additional funding.”

The funding comes as part of the most recent federal COVID-19 relief packages. Schools, students and parents have overcome challenges that no one could have imagined before the pandemic began, including remote and hybrid learning, digital connection issues, new processes for receiving state and federal aid that normally flow through schools, and more.

Local school districts are set to receive the following amounts:
• Champaign CUSD 4 - $36,243,908
• Urbana SD 116 - $20,321,748
• Thomasboro CCSD 130 - $1,468,270
• Rantoul City SD 137 - $9,109,926
• Gifford CCSD 188 - $255,934
• Rantoul Township HSD 193 - $3,590,051
• Prairieview-Ogden CCSD 197 - $282,448
• Westville CUSD 2 - $4,183,015
• Georgetown-Ridge Farm CUD 4 - $4,061,656
• Oakwood CUSD 76 - $3,203,006
• Danville CCSD 118 - $45,487,529

The majority of the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, which gives local schools a great deal of flexibility in how they can use the money over the next 3 ½ years. At least 20% of the funding must be used to address learning loss, but beyond that, school districts can use the money to address many different issues and costs. For example, it can be used to better equip schools for safe learning, to prevent layoffs, to address students’ social and emotional needs, to fund summer programs, or to ensure all students have access to reliable Wi-Fi and technology.

The State Board of Education, in collaboration with other state agencies that address education, has produced a guide for local school districts to help them decide how to best use their resources. While the guide and other state-sponsored services are completely voluntary, the state aims to support local districts during this difficult time.

“This has been tough year for everyone,” Bennett said. “This funding will help our students and schools move forward now that the end of the pandemic is near. I hope it will restore and revitalize learning.”

In total, Illinois received nearly $7 billion to support local school districts.